BERKELEY (KCBS) – Senator Loni Hancock on Thursday withdrew her bill to replace the death penalty with prison without the possibility of parole before the legislation could come up for a vote.

The Berkeley Democrat said she could not round up enough votes for SB490 to clear the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Hancock tied her push to end capital punishment to the state’s troubled finances, arguing that the $185 million California spends each year on capital cases could be better spent on police departments and education.

“Several recent reports have indicated beyond the shadow of a doubt that the death penalty in California is an expensive failure, not tough on crime. It’s only tough on the taxpayers,” she said.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Hancock pointed out that only 13 people on death row have been executed since California reinstated the death penalty in the late 1970s.

“More have committee suicide on death row or died of natural causes,” she said.

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